I received a free copy of this book to review from NetGalley, on behalf of the publisher.
Stephen Lloyd Jones hurls you straight into the action in The String Diaries. Hannah Wilde, her husband Nate, and daughter Leah, are racing through Wales late at night. Nate is slowly bleeding to death. Someone, we don’t know who, is after them. When they arrive at Hannah’s bolthole in Snowdonia, Hannah is so paranoid that she nearly shoots the caretaker when he comes to see what’s going on at the rarely inhabited house.
Before we learn what’s made Hannah and Nate so fearful, Lloyd Jones takes us back to 1979, when Hannah’s father meets her mother at Balliol College’s library. After a disastrous car chase, Hannah’s mother starts to share the family secret, something that they’ve been running from since 1879. At first, Charles doesn’t believe Nicole about the hosszú életek. After all, long lived Hungarian shape-shifters are just too weird to be believed, aren’t they? Then Lloyd Jones jumps back in time again, to 1873 Budapest, to show us how the whole story really started.
Balázs Lukács–Lukács–is not like the other hosszú életek. He can’t change himself as easily as the others. At his first society appearance, he is shunned by his own kind and ends up drinking with a young Budapest couple. Lukács has been dealing with rejection his whole life. So when yet another woman rejects his advances, Lukács looses whatever hold the rules and restrictions of society held him in check before. He does manage to find love for a while, but when he loses Erna Novák, he spends the rest of his long life trying to find her again. He chases her descendants across Europe, killing anyone who stands in his way. The targets of his obsession often look like their ancestress. When Lukács finds out about them, it’s only a matter of time before there’s a deadly confrontation.
From the first chapter to the last, I was completely hooked by The String Diaries. Nothing was ever simple. Whenever I thought I knew what would have to happen next, Lloyd Jones would introduce a new complication to Hannah’s and Lukács’ story. As an added bonus, the premise is refreshingly original. The ending to the book is perfect and far different from anything I predicted. This was a terrific read.